Allplastics Engineering is marking the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon
landing with a special selection of materials and finishes with lunar connections.
The Gemini and
Apollo programs inspired several scientific discoveries in space and on earth. These
include shock absorbing athletic shoes, translucent Teflon coated retractable
roofing fabric, firefighting breathing apparatus, solar panels, chlorine free
pools and heart monitors.
NASA’s moon landing
endeavour was achieved not only with high performance rockets, powerful
propellants and billions of dollars in research but also with materials such as
engineering plastics, which have performed a crucial role throughout the
history of space flight, allowing astronauts to view their surroundings,
breathe oxygen easier and travel more comfortably in orbit around the blue
planet or on the way to the moon.
Plastics are often
lighter than other materials such as steel or aluminium. The selection of
lighter polymers allows rockets and spacecraft to get off the ground more
efficiently and cost effectively using less rocket fuel. Plastic seals,
flooring, instrument panels and seats are among the many plastic parts that
have made spacecraft lighter and more manoeuvrable.
example of plastic in space is the polycarbonate lenses used in the helmets of
spacesuits. Polycarbonate is shatterproof with 250 times the strength of glass.
While standard polycarbonate is easily scratched, a special coating is used to
make lenses mar resistant on visors, windows and portals, allowing astronauts to
view their surroundings clearly. Astronaut visors also have a thin layer of
gold to protect their eyes from unfiltered sunlight in space.